Is it legal for my employer to make me take a break as soon as I clock in for work?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for my employer to make me take a break as soon as I clock in for work?

I work at a private preschool in
California and as soon as I clock in for
work, I have to take my break to get it
out of the way. The problem is there is
a big time gap between my break and
my lunch break so I get very hungry
and start to feel sick. Isn’t a break
suppose to be taken after two hours of

Asked on March 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In CA, most workers have the right to a paid 10 minute rest break for every 4 hours worked (or fraction thereof). And the breaks should be in the middle of the work period, as much as possible but they can be staggered. However, clocking in and then immediately being made to take a break would appear to be in vioation of the law. At this point, you should contact the CA Department of Industrial Relations and/or consult with an employment law attorney in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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